Fiesta Bowl nostalgia? Not for Penn State and Washington

Penn State's Saquon Barkley heads for NFL

Washington, meanwhile, hardly got on track as Penn State's defensive line swarmed quarterback Jake Browning early and often.

Matched up with No. 9 Penn State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, No. 11 Washington represented the Pac-12's last opportunity to salvage something from what had been a disastrous bowl season. The redshirt junior finishes the year with 3,570 passing yards and a 28/10 TD/INT ratio across 13 games played. For Washington, this will be their first trip to the Fiesta Bowl, but Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is no stranger to the game. The Huskies ended their season in grand fashion blowing out #13 Washington St 41-14. The game is commemorated across Penn State's football offices, though Franklin said that memorabilia won't motivate the Lions this week.

Franklin believes some of the biggest matchups in this game could see his team's strengths against the best of what Washington can do.

Don't forget, also, that PSU special teams coordinator Charles Huff left to join Joe Moorhead's staff at Mississippi State, so that could lead to an issue here or there for the Lions.

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Petersen reached into his trick-play bag to spark Washington from an early funk, calling a double pass that led to 52-yard gain to tight end Drew Sample. He said he doesn't see that being the case in this game, because both programs have steps to take to get to a consistently elite level, and one of them is to win major bowl games. And two of the best running backs in the nation are in view in Penn State's Saquon Barkley in the Fiesta and and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor in the Orange. The defense came up with one more stop and with that, a two-game bowl losing streak came to an end as the Nittany Lions improved to 7-0 in Fiesta Bowls.

Both enter the game with 10-2 records. This is a premier match-up of a great running back against a great run defense. We put as much emphasis on it from day one of spring football to what we do right now. But, as Coach Petersen was quick to point out during his Fiesta Bowl media availability when asked if he told his Washington players about his Fiesta Bowl success as the coach of Boise State: "They don't care about that". It features so many good players on both sides of the ball for both teams.

This year the Pac-12 saw Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona State, USC and Washington all lose and the Utes be the only team to pick up a win. We weren't expecting to have bowl games for a long time.

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